Judge Bars Gang Members and Associates From Distributing Mongol Logo and Symbol

A federal court has issued an interesting ruling after the arrest of various members of the Mongols motorcycle gang: gang members, their family and their associates are enjoined from wearing, licensing, selling or distributing the gang’s logo. It is a novel and questionable order, in my view, by U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper.

Under a 177-page indictment, the government charged 79 Mongols with an assortment of racketeering, murder, attempted murder, drug and money laundering offenses. Raids pulled in gang members in California, Washington and Colorado, among other states. The government used a trademark claim to “seize” the logo and name under forfeiture rules. U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien stated “This trademark is subject to forfeiture. If the court grants our request . . . then if any law enforcement officer sees a Mongol wearing his patch, he will be authorized to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back.”

Cooper’s order is a restriction on speech. Even after a conviction it would be problematic, but before a conviction it is a form of prior restraint. How exactly can she enforce such an order against family and associates? I fail to see the authority of a federal court to order such a restriction on non-parties or even unconvicted defendants.

For the full story, click here and here.

6 thoughts on “Judge Bars Gang Members and Associates From Distributing Mongol Logo and Symbol”

  1. Buddha,
    Once again kudos to you. There is not one point you made with which I disagree. More breathtakingly though, was the amount of good information that your were able to succinctly pack into your comment.There is nothing I literally can add to your thoughts because you’ve encapsulated my own thinking and then went beyond it. Love reading your stuff. Blushing yet?

  2. I’d also like to state that it’s a pathetic thing that there is such a thing in this country as “the prison industry”. Simply sad and wrong in both thought and execution. Someday I suspect there will be a verdict that reads, “And for your crimes, Joe Smith, I sentence you to 20 years in the State McPrison sponsored by Marlboro, Quaker State and Popeye’s Chicken. Love that chicken from Popeye’s! Mention this ruling and $1 off your next purchase.”

  3. Most people hadn’t even heard of meth in the land where natural substance drugs . . .

  4. Mike,

    RICO is a powerful and useful tool when properly applied. The key word being properly. Some crimes can be so diffuse that the only way to bring the guilty to justice is to build a case on the pattern behavior many RICO cases so tightly hinge upon. If the DOJ were properly run, RICO is a prime tool that could and should be used against the RNC and their masters.

    Now the War On Our Own Citizens But Especially The Poor, er, um, War On Drugs, that’s a separate issue. Yes RICO has been used for drug related crimes (especially money laundering) but the real failure is that the War on Drugs is simply Prohibition in lipstick, or camo as the case may be. History taught us this lesson once and recently comparatively speaking with alcohol. The best way to make crime flourish is to criminalize natural human behavior. Humans have been taking drugs for entertainment for at least 2400 years. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3225729/Stone-Age-man-took-drugs-say-scientists.html I’m pretty sure they’ve been doing it since Ogg the Caveman figured out that odd little mushroom made him see things. Hell, the Egyptians paid the labor in bread and BEER. If all the drugs in the world magically vanished today, including cigarettes and booze, people would be spinning around in their yards to get dizzy instead and someone would be illegally selling Sit And Spins and lazy susan’s for $1000 a piece. The inverse lesson Prohibition should have taught us is that the best way to reduce crime is legalization and taxation. It cuts into profits and reduces both crime and motive while generating revenue and allowing for access control for minors and quality control (a health and safety issue). It also costs us money to treat what is in fact a health issue as a criminal issue. I haven’t seen numbers, but I’m sure it’s more cost effective to treat a heroin addict than it is to incarcerate him for 30 years because his personal stash was above an arbitrary weight set to decide who is and isn’t a “dealer” by people with a vested interest in having as many prison beds filled as possible. But then the private prisons would go out of business. And they should. Their lobbyists are partly and greatly responsible for the draconian drug laws here. And to those who say a liberal drug policy doesn’t work, try to find meth in Amsterdam. I recently saw a documentary called “The War On Drugs: The Last White Hope” where they tried exactly that. And could not do it. Most people hadn’t even heard meth in the land were natural substance drugs (marijuana/hashish, mushrooms, etc.) are tolerated if not totally legal. Meth, a drug uniquely American cobbled together from legal substances. A drug that will eat dime sized holes in your brain. A drug any doctor will tell you that if you take it that it’s not a matter of if it will make you schizophrenic when will it make you schizophrenic. A drug created by prohibition. The Dutch also have lower incidence in the general population with addiction overall than America, where we put sick people in prison as to assure they’ll be criminals afterward if they were not before. Legalization takes the “romance” out of it. The War On Drugs. Brought to you by Nixon, perfected by Reagan and the lobbyists for Fingerhut. It was a bad idea when Elliot Ness was alive. It’s a bad idea now.

    But RICO can be a useful tool in the right hands. Expect to see it used on some of the companies on Wall St. currently under investigation by the FBI.

  5. While I have no doubt that there are some bad people associated with this gang I have never liked the precedent established by RICO statutes. I admit that I am not an attorney but there has always seemed something unseemly to me in granting such power to prosecutors. I believe that prosecutors should have to prove their cases before being able to do material damage to those they purport to convict. These legal concepts are yet more fall out from the nefarious “War on Drugs” which has accomplished little beyond making some people very rich, abetted in police corruption, kept a huge bureaucracy employed and imprisoned thousands of people most of whom were at the bottom of the druggy food chain.

    It is hypocrisy to have to bail out supposedly solid financial organizations, literally engaged in macho gambling operations that put our nation in financial jeopardy, while chasing comparably petty criminals. We see little impetus to use the available prosecutorial weapons to punish those in charge of these financial institutions and the all too complicit rating agencies for jeopardizing our futures. Yet we will be able to have police officers remove the jackets from Mongols on motorcycles, while charging them with trademark infringement.

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